Children are blessings from above. The joy that they bring into a family is indescribable. I think that God wanted us to experience how much he loves us, and what length he can go for us, so he let us have the ability to reproduce the little version of ourselves, that we can love and go to any length for.
For centuries, tough men have grown soft just by looking into the eyes of their sweet daughters. Soft men have labored and toughened up for their sons, so that they can raise boys who would be proud to call them heroes. Boys who will become proud of their fathers.
Children change us all. They just come into our lives and we begin to learn, adjust, grow and be better human beings. Don’t even get me started on all the emotions that they display: joy, anger, tiredness, excitement, curiosity… the list is endless.
In Igbo land, we have a saying, that can be loosely translated to “you can’t be proud with anything that has breath.” the Igbos say this in respect to using a child that you own to make another person who doesn’t have a child of their own feel less. Our fathers, knew that life is not in the hands of man, it can be given and taken by the almighty. So why brag with something that you cannot control?
This is where I would like to establish that you can’t invest in your children. You can’t invest in a human being who will become an adult and have a will that you cannot control.
I know that every business venture or every investment is a risk. But investing in a child is a long term, uncertain and too dangerous risk.
Don’t get me wrong. You should train your children. Send them to good schools, show them love and care, provide all the essential things that they need, but don’t treat all these actions as an investment in them.
You can’t train your children with the intention that they will come back to train you, or give you plenty money. Just train them without all the pressure to deliver, without all the pressure to be your pension plan, to be your back up plan, to make up for all that you couldn’t be, because you might be disappointed.
Let’s pause and think about why our country: Nigeria, is the way it is. Perhaps it is because everybody wants to grab. Everybody wants more than a piece of the national cake. Everybody wants a gigantic chunk; to distribute to a mum, dad, grandma, grandpa, uncles, auntie, cousins and village members. Because they all invested.
Maybe, just maybe when we learn to invest in lands, businesses, farms, and other opportunities, and train our children with no strings attached, then we will let them be what they desire to be:
photographers, bloggers, designers, artistes, poets, and farmers. And not necessarily the cliché lawyers, doctors, engineers and bankers. Maybe, just maybe we will have happier children, less suicidal youths, less drug addicts, and less greedy leaders. Who are not under pressure to pay back anything.
Don’t get me wrong, provide all the best that you can afford for your children, but with the intention of just making their lives better, with the intention of shaping sensible and responsible people for the society, with the intention of contributing your quota to humanity in the form of a blessed soul.
Not with the intention of storing your wealth in them.
Then we as parents will be content with whatever career decisions they choose to make. We will rest assured that they will preserve our legacy with integrity and trust. Because it is not about the money that they will make to send home to us, but it will be about the impact they make in this life that will not be forgotten. For they are our legacy and not our investment
Even though a sensible child will not forget his parents, his financial returns home might not be impressive.
So train your children and save some to invest in other things for yourself; for when you get old and weary. It is not selfishness, it is wisdom at its best.